that I was only bringing up additional issues on the topic. But it appears that I need to say more.
I am not in any way saying that all of the blame lies with females. The reason I wrote the post was because Smink's post only addressed the issues that women face; I wanted to point out that there's another side to the story that neither Smink nor his 15 commenters addressed. That doesn't mean that I think females are the military's sexual predators.
Men can be sneaky, nasty jerks. I know of plenty of stories of the gross and immoral things they've done downrange too. However, we can't lay all of the blame at their feet. Women can be conniving sluts too. As a society, I believe we're too quick to always blame the men.
One scenario fleshed out: I heard a soldier tell the story of a time he heard a female specialist completely sass-mouth her first sergeant. She interrupted him and was extremely rude. As she left, my soldier friend expressed shock that she could get away with being so impertinent; he was told that the first sergeant had made the enormous error of having consentual sex with this female and was now paying for his mistake. This female specialist threatened to expose him if he didn't give her special treatment. Was the 1SG wrong for sleeping with her? You bet your sweet bippy he was! But this female is now the one hurting mission readiness by blackmailing her NCO. She could turn him in and say she was raped, and there's nothing he could do about it. In today's world and military, women hold all of the power when it comes to sexual harrassment. And I truly believe that some of them abuse this system.
Men and women are having sex downrange. Some of them are married, some are not. But what happens when two unmarried soldiers are having sex and the man wants to end it, and the female gets mad and reports to the unit that he raped her? Happened to someone I know. We as a society tend to always believe the woman is telling the truth in these situations; I personally don't believe that anymore. I think the system is abused and broken, so I get irritated when we moan about the plight of the poor, harrassed women in the military, and when every other AFN commercial is about stopping sexual harrassment against women. Some of these women know exactly what they're doing and have ruined the system for those who really are being harrassed.
You hit the nail on the head when you said they system is broken. It needs to be fixed. I think many people just have a hard time believing that women would act this way.
Posted by: Mare at August 01, 2005 09:06 AM (0CpxG)
I am a married soldier, 35 years old, and a combat medic with the 101st Airborne Division preparing to deploy again to Iraq in the next few weeks with a Forward Combat Support Battalion
Your insecure statements are exactly what is wrong with the system. Case in point, there are 200 soldiers in my Company, a third of us are women. Of that there is one female soldier that we consider a "slut". Based on your statement all the rest of us who work so hard to earn the respect of the male soldiers should be held to her standard and are being deployed to entertain the male soldiers.
"But this female is now the one hurting mission readiness by blackmailing her NCO. She could turn him in and say she was raped, and there's nothing he could do about it" This statement very rarely could happen. If anything, the fact that the 1st Sgt allows his affair to carry over into the misson hurts the mission and probably shouldn't be a 1st Sgt.
A female soldier having sex with a 1st Sgt. Yep it happens. But, I can almost promise you that the 1st Sgt approached her with offers. That is simply the way it works. Does she have "ALL THE POWER", not in the real Army. The reason she gets away with the attitude is because the 1st Sgt doesn't want to risk losing what he has on the side. His weakness. She can report it was rape, but in 8 outof 10 cases the results will be the same, "there are not enough facts to further the investigation". See in the real Army it is a 1st Sgt's word against hers, and just like sexual harrassment, if there are not several witnesses (who have to be impartial, not friends of hers) then the commander investigating the case will not risk losing a senior NCO. Again, that is just the way it is.
In truth, fact, and reality, the only "power" we have is that the male soldiers hope and pray that we might consider sex with them, and that is the true "power". Most of us don't even consider it, it is just in the male nature to behave this way to us. The only male soldier who really has to worry, is the one that has a history of sexual harrassment or other issues that the commander is aware of and usually goes home and tell his spouse another story.
I'm not saying that as female soldiers we don't take crap from the men, or that we don't don't dish it out in turn. But the bottom line, is that we are soldiers with a very dangerous job to do. That is our first concern and priority. We really don't have the time to get upset over a comment or two. You probably don't understand this. The reason is, males talk and associate with each other in a swaggering sexual context, that is just their nature, esspecially in the Army where testesrone runs high. So this is their way of telling us that we are considered one of them, we are one of the guys, a soldier, an equal. So as long as you don't sexual touch us, or proposition us, it really doesn't bother us.
Sorry if this blows your image of us, but this is the facts and the way it is in the real Army.
Posted by: Grey Eagle at August 01, 2005 09:53 AM (bTUq5)
I don't understand what you mean by this "blowing my image of you." I'm glad there are females like you in the Army. I don't WANT to think that they're all skeezy. I want males and females to work on equal footing. But I'm telling you that every commercial break here in Germany contains some female complaining about being sexually harrassed. My husband had to attend repeated sexual harrassment training even when he worked in a combat unit with zero females. The Army focuses so hard on it that it seems that this is the only issue surrounding female soldiers. I'm glad to hear you say that you and your fellow females see the situation differently; please don't put words into my mouth that I didn't say. I'm not rooting for your failure...
Posted by: Sarah at August 01, 2005 10:03 AM (qPy3t)
"But, I can almost promise you that the 1st Sgt approached her with offers. "
Must be different in the USAF then. Seen it happen, though the young lady didn't do anything out of sorts afterwards. Just a trophy hunter.
Oh, and Sarah, you were quite clear in your previous post. I probably won't comment because it brings back some memories of things that happened to a couple of airmen (not me) that I was unfortunate enough to have been around during the early 90's. I agree that such incidents should be part of the debate, along with other factors.
I think the biggest problem that people will have with this topic is that it isn't one in which feel good measures and "good guy" politics should ever have a place. To have the best military requires that a horrifically pragmatic view be taken. Otherwise it becomes a less than optimum force. Seen that too (in the physical ability topic) though that was more prevelant than the hinky fooling around.
Somebody needed to tell these people that you don't date people at work, even if that work is a foxhole. Hell, that ought to be a law.
It's always been a law for me. Enforcable by death now that I'm married.
Heck, looks like I did comment. Dang.
Posted by: Kalroy at August 01, 2005 10:13 AM (9RG5y)
Kal, you're right. I have a problem with unmarried soldiers developing relationships downrange too, because it detracts from the mission.
And I don't even want to go into the issues surrounding physical ability. I swore off that topic when I read the astounding book The Kinder, Gentler Military
. I can't even go there. Suffice it to say that when a female hands her weapon to the NCO and whines, "SGT X, my thingy isn't working...", there are issues beyond which I want to tackle here.
Posted by: Sarah at August 01, 2005 10:36 AM (qPy3t)
I think you're quite right, Sarah.
Gray Eagle-- I think you're taking personally what's aimed at those females that give you and I a bad name.
Posted by: Sailorette at August 01, 2005 07:27 PM (goEPa)
I was directed here by my friend and fellow blogger, Grey Eagle.
Interesting discussion, to say the least.
I do understand the points I think the both of you are trying to make. My opinion though, is that yes, what you are talking about does happen.. but to a MUCH lesser degree than the norm... which is women being sexually harrassed by men in uniform. I think it's funny Grey Eagle referred me to this subject because ironically, I have felt first hand, some severe cases of this.
And I had to remove my story from my blog because it does not sit well with the guys with the big rank.
Anyway, yes.. I will agree that there are a great deal of women in the military.. younger girls, who find the attention and the newfound power to be mind blowing. But I agree with Eagle in that there are few of those girls out there.. who make the rest of us look bad. And when we start to focus so much of our attention on the very small minority, it is easy to assume and stereotype other females into their same category.
I think what is offensive is that most of us fight that 'slut' stereotype on a daily basis. Damn.. several times a day.. without having done A SINGLE THING that would warrant such derogatory remarks or rumors. But because we are female.. and greatly outnumbered, it is a part of being in the army.
When people start making generalizations and touting the negativity.. it's almost like promoting it. Whereas instead of focusing your thoughts and energy to the women out there who ARE doing right by themselves, their fellow soldiers and their service.. unknowing people begin to start making assumptions about the rest of us.
Yes.. you may not have been talking about all of the females.. but your words could and most assuredly will affect the perceptions of the people who read your blog.
I believe that you weren't trying to slander us all. And I believe that Grey Eagle is doing right by trying to offer a different perspective. The main point is that the Army focuses its money and its messages in where it thinks it needs to be. Domestic violence, child abuse and sexual harrassment/assault are prevalent... as I'm sure you know. So naturally that is where the money goes.
And being a family member of a high ranking CID agent.. I can tell you that you don't even know the HALF of what goes on on a day to day basis at our posts around the globe. But I can assure you.. that the 'atrocities' that women are creating and initiating are far few and far between what is happening TO women.. not just our soldiers.. but dependents as well.
Men are just as manipulative, just as demeaning and conniving as women. Don't kid yourself. And we could sit here for days and trade stories, I'm sure.. but in the end all that really matters is that there are stupid people out there.. and in every situation there is a shared responsibility by all involved.. except of course in random acts of violence.
Which, I'm pretty sure if you pulled those stats, you'd find very few males victimized by women.
I'm glad you clarified your earlier post.. and defended your position.. It appears to me that you are intelligent and can see both sides of this as well. I hope my comment doesn't come off as me trying to debate or argue. I support your statement as well.. just trying to explain how statements like that.. although well intentioned or not intended to make all of us Army girls look bad.. really does. It's hard not to take offense by strangers on the outside when we fight it all day long by men on the inside.
We could use a few more allies on all sides.. but no matter. We knew what we were getting into when we joined up.. and I wouldn't trade my world for anyone else's. I love my life, my career and my country.. and no matter what anyone wants to say or to call me.. or to speculate about.. I'm still going to do the best damn job I can.
Also.. you have to take into consideration that we're a bit older than these girls fresh out of high school..
But that's not to say that they are all bad!!
Have a great week.. I've GOT to get to bed.
Posted by: Army Girl at August 01, 2005 10:19 PM (puF94)
Oh yeah.. And you're damn right we hold all the power.. but not relating to sexual harrassment alone.
The problem is that it's women who are insecure who are playing these head games with people's lives and careers... and their own hearts.
If they truly knew how much power they had.. I'm sure they'd not feel the need to search for vindication, acceptance, status and other such things from others. They'd see it in themselves.
That's what's really wrong with these girls and guys.. insecurity. (ok.. well.. it's a major thing.. but certainly not the only thing.)
Posted by: Army Girl at August 01, 2005 10:25 PM (puF94)
Army Girl, my only quibble with your comment is where you call me a "stranger on the outside." I'm not *totally* on the outside. My husband just moved from Armor to Finance, so we're getting a taste of both worlds.
Posted by: Sarah at August 02, 2005 02:37 AM (IKNDq)
Good discussion on all sides I think. Main message seems to be - Don't let the jerks color your impression of an entire group - for either side. We seem to have a great military - with some real assholes thrown in - both male and female.
A lot of issues in the military are the same as issues in any large corporation. They just get magnifeid, especially in a combat situation (my opinion)
Good points made by all.
Posted by: RC at August 02, 2005 12:13 PM (gDEwS)
I knew you were a wife.. when I said, 'on the outside' I meant that. Sorry if it came off too strong.
But there is SUCH a big difference between 40+ hours a week with 'the guys' than hearing it second hand from your hubby and other people. It's just not the same when you're in it all day long..
Actually.. in my personal experience, the wives are worse than the men.. and can be way meaner!
But.. that is just my experience. I wouldn't blame them.. as they know I'm deploying with their men for a year or so.. and as it is.. I see them more than they do most of the time anyway.
Military wives, by no means.. have it easy. It's a life, job and career all its own. So is being a brat.. lol. I was born and bred Army. So I know how it is on all three sides.
Posted by: Army Girl at August 02, 2005 10:35 PM (puF94)
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